Tuesday, December 11, 2018

It's Break Time

So, recently I posted about slowing down and taking time in this advent season to prepare our hearts for our coming King. (Who has come, and is coming again. Hallelujah!!!!)
And I've been doing that.
And it's been good.
However, there are also "things" which need to be done. Not bad things, or unimportant things, mind you. But they take time. And as I am plugging along getting them done, in the back of my mind I have been hearing a certain voice taunting me that I need to keep up with my posts here.

Therein lies the problem.

My heart for this blog is that it would be life-giving. For me as I write what God puts on my heart (Because He really does speak to me in the writing process.), and for you as you read.
Yet the pressure I have felt to post can best be described as joy-sucking.
(A far cry from the life-giving goal I have for this blog!)
And a farther cry from the condition I believe God wants to produce in my heart right now.

And so, the Holy Spirit and I have together made the decision that it is time for a break.
I'm signing off, leaving any obligatory sense of posting behind, and turning my attention fully on my Savior and my family.
Even as I invite you to do the same!

Merry Christmas!!!


Friday, December 07, 2018


It is good to listen to this song and be reminded that our God is

unchangeable, unshakeable, unstoppable.

Because I just got off the phone with my dad, and I wanted to remember that God is still on His throne. Nothing has changed with Him.
What I mean to say is, I just got off the phone with my dad for the second time today. And it was painfully clear that he didn't remember our first conversation from a few hours earlier.

He has Alzheimer's disease, and things are always changing. I know I need to expect the differences in his behavior and abilities, but when they show up they remind me that more are on the way - and my mind begins to run to the possibilities of what is going to happen. I get concerned for my mom. And I wonder what I'll be able to do to help. 
I speculate about what the future holds, and consider how long the future might last.
Even though I have been around people with Alzheimer's quite a lot in my work over the past seven years, it's a whole new thing when the person affected is your dad. 

At the same time, I am still adjusting to the change of having a married daughter. 
I had the delightful opportunity to spend the afternoon with her at her apartment, talking about life and the new things she's experiencing. I listened to her hopes and struggles. She told me about the things which are going well, and the challenges she and her husband are attempting to conquer. And while I still felt urges to step in and solve problems, God's Spirit held me back and led me into my role of listener and supporter. It's a new gig, and I need Him to show me what to do.

And in the midst of it all, I am holding on to the hope that HE is unchangeable.

How does God's steadfast nature bring you comfort?


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Way to Heaven

Today, our nation is pausing as President George H. W. Bush is laid to rest.
The past several days have seen me filled with so many thoughts and emotions as I have read about, and watched, the events surrounding his passing. From memories shared by his granddaughter, former White House reporters, and Washington colleagues - to remarks about his kind and generous character - to pictures of that loving dog, Sully, standing by his master one more time, my heart has been full of all kinds of emotion.
However, another tug at my heart has out-weighed the sentiment of remembering an outstanding human being. That is, in addition to the warm memories so many people have expressed about George H. W. Bush, it seems nearly as many have expressed joy at the thought of him being now reunited with his loving wife, Barbara, in heaven. And I delight in that image, also.
Because the thought of something greater than what we see here on earth - the expectation of an eternity where there will be no more death, no more tears, no more pain, no more division, nor anything else which plagues us - oh, how that hope lifts my soul! And as I witness the responses of men and women all over the country, I think it is safe to say - that hope is lifting their souls, too.
Yet, I feel this tug in my heart. This nudge to ask the question.

Do you know???
For all those who find comfort in the thought that Heaven awaits, do you know the Way?

I ask, because I fear too many people simply assume their present life will be followed by eternal life. (That's what I assumed!) I am afraid a lot of people believe a loving God wouldn't send them to Hell, so they expect their next stop is Heaven. My concern is for those who think, since Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, they're good to go.
And my heart won't be settled until I tell the Truth.
Because the Truth is this: Eternal life - Heaven - is not a given. Just because Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of all mankind, doesn't mean anyone is automatically bound for Heaven. Rather, our eternal destination is determined by a choice each one of us must make - to trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ, or not.
Please hear me.
It is true - Jesus Christ left the glory of Heaven and came to earth. He lived a perfect life, without sin, so that He could become a sacrifice for us by dying on the cross in our place. (Because we all have sinned, and the justice of God demands that sin be punished. The Bible tells us the punishment for sin is death - eternal separation from God.)
So, yes, Jesus paid the price we owed and thereby purchased forgiveness of sins for us, salvation. And when He arose from the dead He made the way for us to have eternal life.
And, yes, it is true - God is loving, and He doesn't want anyone to spend eternity in Hell.
Still - He isn't going to force Himself (or Heaven) on anyone, either.

Jesus' death and resurrection is all that is necessary for us to have eternal life, but it calls for a response.
That is, just as a gift isn't yours until you accept it from the giver, so it is with salvation.
God's desire is that you would spend eternity in Heaven with Him, reconciled and restored to the perfect relationship for which He created you.
And He has provided the Way.
But the decision is yours.
It begins by you recognizing your need of a Savior.
Then, believing Jesus is that Savior and accepting the gift of salvation He offers, you must chose to follow Him.
And you need to know: While it is true - salvation is free - there is a cost to following Jesus.
That is, following Jesus isn't something you do simply to get a ticket to Heaven.
To trust in Jesus means you surrender control of your life to Him. You decide to live according to God's Word and His will, not your own. You find yourself saying, "No," to your desires - as God changes your heart to become more like Jesus'. And as you go through this transformation you discover you want nothing more than to be more like HIM, and less like the 'you' you used to be.
It's a wonderful exchange, really.
First, His life for yours.
And, second, your life for His.


Monday, December 03, 2018

A Latin PSA